A pair of Melbourne brothers have come up with an inventive idea to keep track of elderly family members and allow them to stay in their homes for longer.
Matt and Tim McDougall have launched an app, which allows people to remotely watch over their relatives 24/7.
The app, called Billy, sends notifications to family members when their elderly relative wanders off, has a fall or is not home when they are expected to be, by using sensors placed in the home.
Speaking on Sunrise on Saturday morning, the brothers explained the idea came from their own family experiences, as did the unique name of the app.
“As grandchildren in our family we watched our grandfather start to go through this process of living alone but needing more help,” Tim said.
“In our particular case with our grandfather we didn’t really have a great understanding of what was going on and ultimately what led to the decision of moving him out of his home was the neighbour letting us know he’d actually walked the dog Billy about ten times in one day.
“[It] Just got us thinking, imagine what the dog knew about what was happening in the house.”
According to Matt, it isn’t used as an emergency device but to prevent those situations when the elderly may find themselves in need of help.
“The important thing for us was not having this focused on an emergency situation and actually being aware when something is starting to go wrong or changing,” he explained on the morning show.
As to not be too invasive of family members and interfere with their lives, the app works by looking at different behavioural activities in the home. This includes peoples movements, meal preparation, coming and going through the back and front doors and even the temperature in the home.
“There is a range of things we are looking at but ultimately it’s just about building a picture of what someone’s every day looks like,” Tim added.
The launch of the app follows the announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that there would be a royal commission into the aged care sector in Australia.
Many people in the Starts at 60 community understandably have concerns when it comes to the prospect of entering aged care, revealing they worry about everything from failing to fully understanding their options, to abuse, neglect and struggling to afford sufficient care.
We received almost 1,000 responses to an online poll which asked readers to share their biggest concerns about the sector, with the majority (13.7 per cent) telling us they were most afraid of falling victim to abuse, neglect or malpractice at the hands of staff in aged care facilities.